Art Festival in Tsurugi Archive Project

Art Festival in Tsurugi” was held in Tsurugi seven times from 1991 to 1999. Of particular note is Jan Hoet’s active role in the festival’s execution from 1991 to 1995. Hoet, director of S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium had also served as commissioner for the 1992 Documenta in Kassel. As a result of his involvement, a number of international artists resided in Tsurugi and produced artworks with the assistance of local craftsmen knowledgeable about iron production. “Art Festival in Tsurugi” was a forerunner of the regional art festivals held today throughout Japan. It was distinguished by the active participation of the local Society of Commerce and Industry, which operated the festival office and even provided production assistance. What made this possible was the long history of collaborative production that supports Tsurugi’s traditional “Horai Festival,” which is famous for its large, hand-crafted festival dolls. This archive exhibition will present documents and documentary photos and video preserved by the Tsurugi Society of Commerce and Industry, along with interviews of festival personnel conducted especially for this event. The exhibition’s aim will be to prevent festival-related materials from getting scattered and lost, and to provide an occasion for thinking about how art and region can find connection, based on understanding what occurred at “Art Festival in Tsurugi.” Sakano Mitsunori, the artist is from Tsurugi and actually experienced the festival as a junior high school student. The exhibition will therefore also provide viewers with a background for understanding Sakano’s work.